The 834th was known as the Zodiac squadron for the 12 B24's which had the signs of the zodiac painted on their noses. The original artwork was done by CPL Phil Brinkman, a former illustrator for a Chicago based advertising agency. CPL Brinkman was discovered while in Tucson, AZ by CAPT W. D. Howell, of the 834th BS. CAPT Howell had seen the artwork CPL Brinkman had done for the group and was impressed. He eventually arranged for CPL Brinkman to be assigned to the 834th, and, once in England, CPL Brinkman was put to work on the Zodiacs. While 12 planes were chosen, only 11 would finished.

None of the Zodiacs were lost during the 49 missions the 486th flew before transitioning to the Fortresses. The Zodiacs did not make the transition, and the crews named their new forts using the original names they had chosen for their Libbies.

These photos are from the USAF Academy's Mark Brown collection.

"Capricorn" (744:2S:L) formerly "Ding Dong Daddy from Dixie."

"Scorpio" (762:2S:J) would be chosen for the squadron's insignia.

"Gemini," (490:2S:D)

"Libra" (508:2S:C)

CPL Phil Brinkman (right) and an unidentified 486er admire the "Aries" nose art. (693:2S:O)

"Sagittarias" (400:2S:H)

"Aquaria" (545:2S:M) with her pots of 0.50 caliber bullets.

"Cancer" (650:2S:B)

The first "Leo," (768:2S:G)

Both "Leo's" were flown by Bill Hilfinger. (605:2S:E)

"Pisces," (517:2S:G)

"Virgo" (532:2S:K)

"Taurus" by Phil Brinkman. The picture would have depicted a bull reviewing a recon photo. The plane chosen to display nose are left the squadron before it could be finished.

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Contact: Phylis Brinkman Craig : 20804 NE 132nd Ave. Waldo, FL 32694 : (352) 468-2001